Malaysia initiates special palm oil mission to EU

'Many of the seats that we contested are affected'. - Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia initiated a special palm oil mission to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on June 12-13 to discuss the European Union's (EU) resolution on palm oil and deforestation.

The mission, led by Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, discussed with EU Commissioners and Members of European Parliament (MEPs) regarding the resolution.
During the mission, Mah had engaged discussions with MEPs, including the EU Commissioner of Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella and chairman of Industry, Research and Energy Committee, MEP Jerzy Buzek.

"The bilateral meetings focused on the European Commission's proposed follow-up actions arising from the adoption of the European Parliament Resolution on Palm Oil and Deforestation of Rainforests on April 4, 2017," said Mah in a statement on Wednesday.

During the meetings, Mah explained Malaysia's position, national policies and various actions adopted throughout the industry to ensure Malaysia would remain the world leader in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in relation to the oil palm industry.

Mah said the MEPs were enlightened on Malaysia's continued commitment to sustainable oil palm cultivation, particularly through the recent decision by the Malaysian Government to make it mandatory local palm oil producers and processors to adopt the Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification.

It was pointed out to them that this was targeted to be achieved by the end-2019, he said.

"The EU Commissioner and MEPs welcomed this effort from Malaysia and were highly appreciative of the readiness of Malaysia to prescribe to such a high sustainability goal throughout the industry," he said.

Mah said the enthusiasm shown by the MEPs to Malaysian palm oil sustainability practices was a great opportunity for the country, while acknowledging the need to communicate these positive efforts and outcomes especially to palm oil end-users and consumers.

"Currently, appreciation of Malaysia's role in driving the sustainability agenda is little known outside the palm oil industry circles," he said.

The minister also convened three roundtable discussions with different palm oil stakeholders in Europe, including European Palm Oil Alliance, European Sustainable Palm Oil Advocacy Group and the International Sustainability and Carbon Certificate.

"All these parties also pledged to further enhance their close cooperation with Malaysian palm oil and will continue to support Malaysia's efforts in Europe," he said.

The EU is a major export destination for Malaysia's palm products with exports to the EU valued at RM10.26 billion last year.

In the first three months, exports of palm oil products to the EU were valued RM2.78 billion, up 27.3 per cent versus a year ago.

Mah said the mission had successfully produced a series of fruitful engagements with MEPs.

"Therefore, it is important to note that the mission serves as proof that Malaysian palm oil is transparent and capable to defend its right,"he said. - Bernama
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